Jennifer & James’ Columbus Zoo Wedding
Remember last Sunday’s post where I wrote about weddings with animals and that I had a few to feature soon? Well today I’m sharing one of them. Jennifer and James love animals so they chose to hold their celebration in Columbus Zoo. Their wedding was filled with quirky personal touches, including offbeat processional song choices, whimsical couple portraits on a carousel, in an aquarium, and in the zoo of course along with several furry creatures!
You already know that I love featuring celebrations in alternative wedding venues so you can probably imagine how excited I was when this landed in my inbox. Corey Torpie Photography‘s amazing imagery was a pleasant bonus — just look at how dreamy her photos are! Love ’em! Here she is now with the day’s details:
Jenny and James met at Ohio State University, where Jenny was studying Anthropology. Her aspiration had always been to work with animals and the Columbus Zoo, one of the best in the country, quickly became a special place for her and James. The ceremony was held alongside a lake with the zoo and dinner and dancing followed. After the ceremony Zoo staff brought out several animals for the bridal party and guests to interact with. Among them was a fennec fox, a bearcat, a penguin, a wallaby and two baby cloud leopards.
Such a pretty bride! Jennifer’s here to share a little bit about herself and James:
I was born in Queens NY and lived in suburban NJ most of my life. James is from Canton, Ohio and through some twist of fate we both chose to go to The Ohio State University for undergrad. We met there through a club we both joined called the Medieval and Renaissance Performers Guild, which is about the most geeked out fun you can have (two words: stage fighting). After being friends for a few years we started dating and the rest is history! We currently live in San Antonio, Texas where James works as an IT guy and I am a graduate student studying primatology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. All that being said we love traveling, Renaissance Faires, discovering unique shops and restaurants, being outside (hiking, camping, etc.), and generally just having fun with each other, friends, and family.
The lovely couple had a first look:
Loving everything so far? Jennifer describes their wedding in a nutshell:
Our wedding was super fun! I guess if I had to describe it I would call it “quirky civil.” We held both the ceremony and reception at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio which was the best decision we could have made. We actually first mentioned having the wedding at the zoo as a joke, but the idea grew on us until we couldn’t think of having it at any other venue. I’m studying primatology and we both love animals so it was a perfect fit. It helped that the zoo offered a unique wedding experience that we knew our guests would love — who else can say they had a penguin in attendance at their wedding? The whole event was held in two outdoor pavilions along the river, which was so beautiful.
Jennifer’s back to share a few more details and their very interesting song choices! A must-read:
Our ceremony was held on the boardwalk along the river, which was just a gorgeous setting. In keeping with our complete inability to take anything too seriously, we chose to have our bridal party walk down the “aisle” to “The Final Countdown” by Europe and my father walked me down to Miss Piggy singing “Never Before and Never Again,” in which she professes her love for Kermit the Frog. It definitely set the tone for a relaxed and fun wedding! As for the ceremony, neither of us are particularly religious so we had a mostly civil ceremony, but we incorporated a hand-fasting ceremony into it, which was really lovely. After the vows were said and done (and I had been thoroughly kissed) we walked out to “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen and into the reception pavilions.
Get ready for an explosion of adorable!
Awwww! Wondering what those cute animals are? Here are some deets from our cuddly-creature-loving bride:
The reception was also super fun. The dinner and drinks were catered by the zoo and were quite good, and the cake was made by a friend of a friend and was super fun. The highlight of the reception for me (and most of the guests as well) was the animal presentation that the zoo gave, in which animals were brought out to interact with guests. There was a penguin, a fennec fox, a bear cat, and two clouded leopard cubs, all of which were adorable and super fun. They also made for a fantastic photo opportunity, to which Corey can attest I’m sure.
These two are so in love! <3
I can’t remember too many details of the night (it all goes by sooo fast!) but everything was fantastic. The music was an eclectic mix of hits from the 1940s to present, and everyone danced the night away. We were also lucky to have held in on Saturday, June 2 before the 4th of July, so there were a bunch of firework shows over the river that we enjoyed throughout the evening. A wonderful time was had by all and I wouldn’t change a thing.
And now, some advice on holding a wedding at a zoo:
There were surprisingly few challenges holding our wedding at the zoo. They provided everything, from the venue to the catering and set up, which made planning really easy. I would highly recommend them as a wedding venue to anyone who wants to have a unique venue and great service. If I had to give advice to couples planning their wedding, I would say make sure you have fun and find the joy in the wedding planning and the wedding day itself. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the details and forget the real meaning of the day, so make sure you enjoy all of it. It will all go by waaay too fast, and as long as you have good food, good drinks, and good music, everyone will have a great time. None of the small details will really matter in the long run, so why stress about them?
Thank you so much to Corey for sending your lovely images my way, and congratulations Jennifer & James! Thank you for sharing your special day with all of us. Here’s wishing you a lifetime of married bliss.
Photographer: Corey Torpie Photography (Queens, NY)
Venue, catering, etc.: The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (Columbus, OH)
Wedding Dress: Brielle’s Boutique (Bergenfield NJ)
Hair: Jennifer King (Columbus OH)
Make-up artist: State of Face (Columbus OH)
Officiant: Ceremonies by Michelle (Columbus OH)
Wedding CAke: Cool Kid Cakes LLC
Flowers: Bloomtastic Flowers (Columbus OH)
DJ: Jeff Barstow (Columbus OH)
Image submission via Two Bright Lights